Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Miley sends in wrecking ball on behalf of national crisis!

When I have a minute, my mind ends up drifting back to Miley Cyrus.

I know, right?? Crazy!

But her move at the VMAs this week moved me.

The backslidden Disney star eshewed center stage that night for a 22-year-old homeless guy she met at a homeless center. Though was described as model-handsome, I was strangely attracted to the message both he and Miley conveyed while accepting an award for her wildly popular "Wrecking Ball" video.

In classic wrecking ball fashion, Miley sent Jesse Helt up to collect the award for the video. Jesse told attention-grabbing crowd of musicians and artists that he was not accepting on behalf of the singer/performer that night, but “on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now.” described him as arresting as he spoke about stark realities - during an awards show that honors the furthest thing from reality.

I am blessed to work every day on social impact solutions in Flint, MI, often involving homeless people - and structurally unemployed individuals who are otherwise forgotten - or worse ignored - due to a wide variety of circumstances.

But I also chair the Committee overseeing Young Life of Genesee County, an outreach to youth in 6th-12 grades. In that capacity, I regularly hear of the population that Miley and Jesse referenced at the VMAs.

It's the "1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now" that can keep me up at night. My kids are 17 and 16. They already both know at least one of their friends who are already homeless.

I heard a presentation last week that underscores this crisis in Flint and America. Diplomat Nate McGregor reported that while LGBTQ youth represent only five percent of the overall youth population, they comprise 15 percent of those in juvenile justice system and 40 percent of homeless youth. He weaved into his presentation the suicide of a bullied youth from Fenton.

I can never ever consider this problem without thinking I need to do something more to change the hearts and minds of our youth who are deeply troubled and "starving, lost and scared for their lives."

And while I have criticized Miley at times for her jarring antics, today I applaud the 21 year old who ended up sharing her moment to address a problem that otherwise would be dismissed if she had not. That night, she leveraged her celebrity to draw much needed attention to a crisis we all choose to ignore far too much of the time.

Will those 15 minutes of VMA solve the problem? No but it will raise the much needed awareness far better than any other costly means. 

Jesse closed his acceptance speech with, “a dream we dream together is reality.”

May we together step one step closer to reality...

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